The seven habits of effective home buying

Home buying is especially stressful for the first-time home buyer but they can do much to look like “old-hands” – and avoid common problems – by following some basic home buying guidelines.

The very first of these home buying pointers, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, is to deal only with properly qualified, experienced real estate agents who are familiar with your preferred home buying area and willing to provide the explanations and assurances you need.

In addition, he suggests that when home buying, “rookie” or first time home buyers should always:

• Avoid “overbuying”. “Get proper pre-approval for a home loan and set a reasonable target price range, remembering to also take transfer costs and moving costs into consideration. Draw up a detailed monthly budget that provides for insurance, city council rates and service charges, levies and maintenance as well as the home loan repayment.”

• Save a deposit. “Tempting as it may be to seek 100% financing, a 20% or even 10% deposit will ensure much lower interest charges and more favourable options when the time comes to upgrade.”

• Be realistic when buying a home. “Don’t spend forever searching for the ‘perfect’ home that has everything on your wish list. Be willing to compromise on the non-essentials in order to make the most of the current opportunities presented by low interest rates and low house price growth. You can always consider improvements and additions at a later stage.”

• Check title deeds and zonings. “You don’t want to buy a property that has all kinds of restrictions attached to it or servitudes running across it. And you don’t want to find out only after you’ve moved in that the attractive open area opposite your new home is zoned for a shopping centre or other traffic magnet.”

Writing in the Property Signposts, Everitt also said recently that when home buying, before you sign any property Sale Agreement, you should ask every question you can think of about the property and what is included in the sale, and preferably get it inspected by a professional home inspector.

“And as a final first time home buying tip, you should also check out the likely routes to work, shops and schools, the local recreation, shopping and medical facilities, the availability of public transport, and the condition of surrounding homes. Don’t let anyone pressure you into making a hasty offer to purchase, because it is neither easy nor cheap to rectify the wrong choice when it comes to home buying.”

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